you read Flex or any other bodybuilding magazine you might get the idea that over training is one of the greatest dangers of the sport, and a huge obstacle to growth. Am I the only one who considers this one of the greatest frauds in the sport today? Certainly for a beginning to intermediate bodybuilder such advice might be the kiss of death to any realistic chance to be huge and cut.
Studies show that full muscle recovery in athletes occurs after 48 to 72 hours. For a steroid taking athlete certainly recovery times are towards the quick end of this spectrum. Yet somehow in the past decade and a half most people have been fed the idea that training a muscle group once a week is optimal- a full 168 hours of rest between using a muscle. It seems to me that more waiting does NOT mean more recovery. Full recovery is full recovery. Your muscles grow as they recover, not after they recover.
Arnold trained each muscle group three times a week with 48 hours rest. Ronnie Coleman trains each muscle group twice a week, so 72 to 96 hours rest. But a 168 hours rest, where the heck did that come from?
It came from a combination of the rise of Dorian Yates, who claimed to train each muscle just once a week, and more importantly, the wishes of a culture of laziness that constantly whispers in your ear "Slow down, take it easy. All that effort's not necessary". We live in times of obesity, of excuses such as "I'd love to train, but I've got a bum knee, so I can't work out ". It's a fat world, and it wants you to join them, so "slow down and don't over train". Training six times a week of course in our present cultural climate means that you are a "fanatic" and "over-training". You'll grow better just sitting on the couch, right?
It's unfortunate that many bbers accept the idea that over-training is some kind common pitfall. Which is more common, overtrained athletes or the kind of shapeless blobs who wander around your gym with Wieder belts straining to hold back their guts? Many of these guys happily latched on to the once-a-week-to-avoid-overtraining marlarkey because it fit into their general slothfulness. Yes, he's fat and ugly but he thinks he's Dorian Yates because he's training each muscle once a week.
Yes, frequent training hurts. Yes, it hurts more than training a muscle group just once a week. But pain is tolerable and necessary for growth. My personal experience is that particularly when on a cycle, solid muscle growth is much more common on 72 to 96 hours rest.
Bodybuilding is not about moderation, it's about excess. Want moderation? Learn golf. Read up on Arnold's training regimen for confirmation that excess and intensity are two words for the same thing.